Surface faulting - the differential movement of the two sides of a fracture at the Earth's surface - is of three general types: strike-slip, normal, and reverse. Combinations of the strike-slip type and the other two types of faulting can be found. Although displacements of these kinds can result from landslides and other shallow processes, surface faulting, as the term is used here, applies to differential movements caused by deep-seated forces in the Earth, the slow movement of sedimentary deposits toward the Gulf of Mexico, and faulting associated with salt domes. Death and injuries from surface faulting are very unlikely, but casualties can occur indirectly through fault damage to structures. Surface faulting, in the case of a strike-slip fault, generally affects a long narrow zone whose total area is small compared with the total area affected by ground shaking. Nevertheless, the damage to structures located in the fault zone can be very high, especially where the land use is intensive. A variety of structures have been damaged by surface faulting, including houses, apartments, commercial buildings, nursing homes, railroads, highways, tunnels, bridges, canals, storm drains, water wells; and water, gas, and sewer lines. Damage to these types of structure has ranged from minor to very severe.
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